The intermediate working hunter pony of the year final kicked off day three in the TopSpec ring at the 2021 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). The roof was well and truly raised when the winners, William Pittendrigh and his grey gelding Silver Lough (Scully), were called out as winners.
While William and his Clew Bay Bouncer nine-year-old have won a host of titles — including at the Royal Windsor and the Royal International — during their five career together, this is their first HOYS victory.
“I’m ecstatic,” William enthused. “I don’t quite know what to say as I’ve dreamt of this for so long. This was the one thing he’s never won so I feel like everything is now ticked off.”
William and Scully had already jumped around the horse working hunter of the year track on Wednesday, where they achieved a credible ninth place.
“He’s been here since Tuesday as he had the earlier class,” William added. “He had a day off yesterday so he could relax and unwind; he can get tired easily. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get away with leaving his plaits in as he rubs them out so I was up early this morning to redo them.”
The David Cole-designed track ensured competitors really used the space on offer. Tight turns were plentiful and a balanced, rhythmical pace was required.
“It was a lot tighter than the course in the International Arena so it requires slightly different riding,” said Northumberland-based William. “I had to sit him up a lot more, but it was a lovely, flowing track.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get another horse like him. He’s the one and only. In the championship I’m going to really gallop; that’s his best bit.”
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.